Hawkers’ hawk-eyed strike & morning tea
Since the last few days, people in Guwahati have not had the pleasure (or grudge) of reading a newspaper along with their morning cup of tea. The reason is a strike called by hawkers demanding more money for their work because of inflation. Currently they get 25 per cent, but they are now demanding 35 per cent commission from the agents.
One thus has to wonder if the newspapers in the region have been reporting this siege against their own reason for existence. And if they have, whose side have they been taking - the door-to-door hawkers or the agents who are refusing to budge.
Sadly, there’s no way to find out as there has been no newspaper for days (despite papers being published everyday), not just at homes, but also in shops. Turns out the hawkers have been keeping a hawk eye at the printing presses to prevent agents from taking and selling newspapers directly at shops.
One thus wonders if these newspapers printed on white paper, are being sold black in the market. Or have the people changed their staple diet to include an hour of morning TV news with their morning tea?
Again one cannot find that out either because residents of Guwahati are embroiled in a bigger crisis - that of putting milk in their tea. Because coinciding with the strike of the newspaper hawkers in the city, is the strike of milk producers demanding more prices from customers.
As people have been forced to drink red tea (it’s called red tea in the region for the simple reason that tea without milk looks red, not black like coffee), TV is flooded with images of milk-sellers literally bathing in milk.
Talk about rubbing salt on wounds!
Image: Hawkers were keeping an eye at the printing presses and newspaper agents